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Intersection of language, literacy and

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development in post conflict states
Timor-Leste adult literacy/recurrent education program

Tahmina Rashid
Associate Professor International Studies, Faculty of Arts & Design
Literacy and adult Learning

Literacy during the colonial periods
•  Number of primary and secondary schools in 1976-77 -
47 and 2
•  Number of primary and secondary schools in 1993-94

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652 and 103
•  The number of primary school teachers in 1976-77 – 499
•  Enrolments at secondary school, going up from 315 to
•  The number of primary school teachers in 1993-94 -
6656. (Jones: 2013)
Adult Learning Programs
La’o Hamutuk (Walking Together) 2000-2003
•  Taken over by MOE/DNEAENF and changed into adult
literacy initiative

Los Hau Bele (Yes I can!) (2007-2012)

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•  Rolled out in all 13 Districts; 65 lessons, exams and
awarded certificates by MOE
•  Boughton (2014; 2015) claims to have eradicated illiteracy
in all 13 districts by 2012, Boon (2015) notes lack of
functional literacy
•  Resources for continued literacy; literacy related
environment; work/family commitments
Population that has never been to
school (2010-2015)

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Second Chance Education Program
(SCEP) 2010-2016
World Bank; UNESCO; MOE/ (DNEAENF) is Timor-Leste’s largest provider of
Second chance education opportunities (US$5Million)

Department of Adult Education and Non-Formal Education; and any successor ,

including Directorate of Recurrent Education - Initial Plan – 65 Community Learning

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Centres (CLC), one in each sub-district/ salary for 75 teachers
Program Objectives:
1.  Curriculum Development and Production/Distribution of Learning &
Instructional Materials
2.  Improved Quality of Service Delivery
3.  Expansion of local capacity for service delivery through Community Learning
4.  Information, Monitoring & Evaluation Technology - Pilots and Studies
SCEP - Mid Review & changes
Institutional Capacity
Reduction in number from 65 to 9 CLCs
Lack of Teachers
Need for Flexibility in teaching mode

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Lack of a baseline on profile of potential students
(2006 riots – DNEAENF data was lost)
Lack of equivalency framework (30/2006 Law)
Access to CLCs
Dropout & Retention rate
SCEP – Key Achievements
•  Curriculum development, production and distribution of
instructional material (All levels/Phases;
•  Materials developed and distributed for flexible
teaching through presential/semi-presential delivery

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•  Legal framework for equivalency program (EP)
promulgated in 2016;
•  Establishment of small libraries at each CLC;
•  NDRE personnel and regional staff trained; monitoring
& evaluation capacity of NDRE upgraded

Curriculum Structure for Equivalency
Program Level I&II/Phase 1-5

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National Equivalency Framework
based on Decree Law No. 30/2016

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CLC Enrollment Data from NDRE

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Adult literacy & Recurrent Education in
Timor-Leste (Legal & Policy Framework)
•  Timor-Leste constitution (2002)
•  Education System Framework law (2008)
•  National Education Strategic Plan (NESP) 2011-2030
•  Timor-Leste Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030

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•  Equivalency law 30/2016 “Approves the curriculum of
the National Program for Equivalence to Basic
•  8th Constitutional Government plan includes Recurrent

Current Challenges
Issues around language and literacy
•  Trained Teachers
•  Teaching Resources
•  Mother tongue/ First & second language

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•  Lack of support at home
•  Lack of supporting environment

Population percentages with proficiency
in official and working languages

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Financial Sustainability
Government Spending on education in Timor-Leste

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NDRE – Planned 10 CLC in 2018 budget, now for 2019
Funding for Internet/online data management
Teacher’s contract till 2018
Teaching Resources (Borrowed & Returned)

Community awareness
Marketing budget
Lack of Teachers/Volunteers

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Lack of funding
Reliance on external funding
Program structure and support for communities